Washington: The owner of top-flight Colombian football team Envigado used the club and his influence to support narcotics trafficking and money laundering by a dangerous drug cartel, the US Treasury Department said Wednesday.
It made the accusation as it blacklisted 10 people and 14 entities in Colombia for their "active role" in helping the La Oficina de Envigado cartel, it said in a statement.
On the list was Envigado football club -- the team where Real Madrid and World Cup star James Rodriguez began his career -- and its owner Juan Pablo Upegui Gallego.
Upegui Gallego is "a key associate" within the La Oficina cartel, the statement added, saying the group is involved in international narcotics trafficking and provides Colombian gangs with services, including drug debt collection, extortion and murder-for-hire.
"As a result of today`s action all assets of those designated that are based in the United States or are in the control of US persons are frozen, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them," the Treasury statement said.
The measures were aimed to hit the cartel in the pocket.
"La Oficina has played a significant role in large-scale drug trafficking and money laundering activities, and this action builds on our continued efforts to target the cartel from all angles," Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement.
Four of the designated people were believed to be directly involved in violence, extortion and narcotics trafficking on behalf of La Oficina, the Treasury said.
Those involved are primarily located in the cities of Envigado and Medellin.